OPEC Statement to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - Buenos Aires, December 2004

by Dr. Maizar Rahman, Indonesian Governor for OPEC, Acting for the Secretary General

High-level Segment, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 6-17 December 2004

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

I should like to start by thanking our host — the Government of Argentina — for the excellent facilities provided for this Conference and for welcoming us to this beautiful city. The Kyoto Protocol will come into force on 16 February 2005, moving the United Nations-sponsored climate change negotiations one step further.

OPEC’s Members are developing countries, whose incomes are highly dependent on the export revenues they receive from sales of a single commodity, petroleum, on world markets. OPEC recognises that the protection of the environment, along with economic and social advancement, is one of the designated three pillars of sustainable development. Moreover, as developing countries, we believe that the eradication of poverty is an integral part of this process and that it should be treated as an overriding priority by all nations.

We are, therefore, particularly concerned about calls for new commitments to be made by developing countries, in spite of the fact that the Protocol itself limits the discussion of new commitments to Annex I Parties. New commitments for developing countries would significantly affect the ability of many sovereign states to achieve sustained economic growth, develop their social infrastructures and eradicate poverty. Developing countries — in spite of their deeply held convictions about environmental issues — cannot be expected to place the issue of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in front of meeting the other more pressing socio-economic needs of their populations — a situation which is compounded by the general lack of clarity over the feasibility of decoupling emissions from economic growth, particularly for developing countries.

Moreover, the adoption by Annex I Parties of the Protocol’s policies and measures has the potential to have very significant adverse effects on our own Member Countries, as well as on all other single-commodity-producing developing countries, a fact that has been recognized by the many provisions made in the Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as in the Protocol itself. Therefore, we expect our well-founded concerns to be fully considered by this process and look forward to the implementation of commitments agreed under Articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the Convention, as well as Article 2.3 of the Protocol. Both producers and consumers agree that petroleum has a big role to play in meeting future world energy demand before other forms of energy are fully developed. Proven reserves of oil and gas are sufficient to meet rising demand for decades to come, while advances in technology will help them meet the toughest environment regulations and make a substantial contribution towards sustainable development. None of us should lose sight of this very important fact.

Furthermore, OPEC remains committed to its policy of promoting clean fossil fuel technology, in the interests of both developed and developing nations alike. To be effective in this, however, requires steady, predictable demand, built upon a clear, definitive vision of the evolution of the global environment in the years to come.

We therefore expect the final outcome of COP10 to be cognizant of, and compatible with, the needs of the fossil-fuel-producing, developing countries, and not detrimental to them — and thus to be in accordance with the relevant Articles of the Convention and Protocol.

Thank you.